Pitmaston Primary School in Worcester has achieved Flagship School status.
The Highest Level of Outcomes
Pitmaston Primary School is an outstanding school with an ambitious determination to sustain the highest level of outcomes for all pupils. When Meeting the Headteacher, Kate Wilcock, it was clear from the offset that she hadn’t felt she had arrived, but rather she was perpetually looking for the next destination. All stakeholders embrace the vision of empowering children to be effective and successful learners, to ensure they are well prepared for the next stage of their education. From the Headteacher, to her Senior Leadership Team, her Staff, her pupils and Governors, their voice was one in harmony; the children were what mattered regardless of the challenges they faced. It would be unfair to say that the schools success is due to a wealthier demographic, as when speaking to staff, they had identified a multitude of hidden needs, and were aware that there were double disadvantaged pupils. Their cohorts include an intake from a council supported estate; 15% of pupils are disadvantaged. All pupils, from a variety of backgrounds, speaking over 19 different languages, thrive and make outstanding progress because of the quality of teaching that inspires them, a broad but deep curriculum alongside excellent family and community engagement. Attainment is at or above local and national standards in the Early Years, KS1 and KS2 and is a testament to the unforgiving, and obdurate vision of excellence for all, of the Headteacher and her Team. They are a fully inclusive school and are determined to ensure that all pupils, particularly the vulnerable groups, are exceptionally well supported and make outstanding progress from their starting points. Parents believe rightly that the school provides an exceptionally safe haven for their children and enables them to succeed academically and in their personal, social and emotional development. The leaders I met were warm, welcoming and undoubtedly knew their children. They were highly skilled leaders at all levels with ambitiously high expectations, ensuring that teaching is at least good with the majority outstanding, resulting in pupil achievement at all levels being above Local and National.
Responding to Diverse Needs
My visit centred on focusing on the targets they set themselves at the last IQM review as a Centre of Excellence. I had read the Ofsted report and expected to see quite a formal, regimented educational provision, the opposite was true. It was a school responding to the diverse needs of its cohorts. Classrooms were ingeniously used spaces, and there were additional classrooms made in corridors, so the Nurture Team could have the room their pupils greatly needed. Interactive boards were thoughtfully placed at eye level, in age appropriate settings. The Head was acutely aware of failings in the past, principally, the Early Years provision, but she emanated pride and a sense of achievement when she showed me the new build and the fantastic learning that was taking place. She was unapologetic of the budgetary spend, which included the appointment of a teacher for the Early Years pupils. This ensures that the pupils had a flawless transition to reception. All the pupils were engaged and happy. In each room I was greeted by ‘Classroom Ambassadors’ who told me their names, their topic of study and what they were doing at that moment. This happened in every classroom, and it is this consistency throughout the school, which underpins the high aspirations for all. Indeed, it has been noted that the curriculum through its creativity, inspires pupils to high levels of engagement and productivity. Pupils are confident, motivated learners who are proud of their school. They develop and present a strong moral code both academically and socially and as key stakeholders within the school demonstrate high levels of leadership and resilience. The pupils I met were very grateful and reflective on what the school had offered them. They clearly loved the staff and their personalised experiences of learning.
Commitment to Inclusivity
In summary, I did not want to leave the school, I felt there was so much more I could see and learn from. I will be taking some of the inspirational practice with me, notably the therapy dog that is used to engage the reluctant readers. It is very clear to see that the school is an outstanding school, and its commitment to inclusivity is inspirational. At the heart of Pitmaston, inclusion drives the agenda, as every child will achieve under their watch, no matter how that success will be measured. They are of a highly cohesive group of Senior Leaders with shared values led by a loved and respected Headteacher. Extremely positive relationships are at the heart of everything that happens at Pitmaston and is at the very heart of their superb inclusive policy and practice. Students always come first, and their needs are the priority. Pupils demonstrated highly positive attitudes to learning and this was evident across the school in their resilience, perseverance, pride, respect, productivity and engagement. The pupil conduct I observed was exemplary. Pupils demonstrate sophisticated levels of empowerment through roles and responsibilities across school including a pupil leadership team, Head Boys and Girls, Eco-Council and Cyberbuddies – exemplified through the Pupil Leadership Gold Award. All Governors and staff are highly trained to recognise and challenge when a pupil may be at risk from abuse including radicalisation. The Chair of Governors was clearly very proud of the school and her leadership Team, and her Governors were very knowledgeable and direct. Leaders and Governors have a shared vision and inclusive view of the school and are committed unwaveringly to achieving the highest expectations where staff and pupils excel. Pupils reported that they felt safe and fully included and were very eager to tell me how Pitmaston had played a pivotal role in their success. Two pupils on mid-year transfers could identify that their start at Pitmaston had been the point where they turned their lives around “because they got the support they needed.” The Governor with Safeguarding responsibility holds DSL to account, monitoring the SCR regularly. Staff work highly effectively with external agencies supporting pupils at risk. The school Family Support Worker’s weekly drop-in provides immediate support, links with DSL, targeting hard to reach families. All pupils can identify a trusted adult to share concerns evidenced through circle time & ‘Let’s Talk Boxes’ which are addressed daily by the nurture team. All concerns are recorded and responded to in a timely and appropriate way. Pupils trust the adults around them, they feel that staff hear their collective and individual voices.
I was warmly welcomed into the school and visited many classrooms, alongside discussion of the action points implemented and the impact it had on the pupils, who were at the heart of very decision made. They have supported and hosted Cluster Group meetings, which they rated as invaluable, and they have already implemented some of the best practice observed. They remain committed to these meetings. They clearly understand that their involvement will form a significant part of their next annual Review. Therefore, I am of the opinion that Pitmaston and its team still have the Inclusion agenda at the forefront of everything it provides for its students. The environment is exemplary providing an excellent teaching and learning environment for teachers, support staff, students and the local community. Just as Ofsted have said, it truly is outstanding in all areas. I look forward to returning next year to assess the progress in their exciting project. They have evidenced their expertise over the years of IQM accreditation and I believe they have the drive and capacity to be a Flagship School.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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